BENGALURU: The BJP’s central leadership has decided to “postpone” handing loyalists ministerial posts in the second round of cabinet expansion scheduled for Thursday, which means only 10 — all turncoats — will be sworn-in at Raj Bhavan.
The decision was taken as the controversy surrounding CP Yogeshwar’s intended elevation refused to die down. Yogeshwar had lost the 2018 assembly elections and is not a member of either house. Yediyurappa also confirmed only 10 of the 11 disqualified legislators, who won on BJP tickets, will take oath.
“I spoke to party national party president [JP Nadda] and it was decided only 10 legislators will take oath on Thursday,” Yediyurappa told reporters. “The national president has invited me to Delhi for talks to fill the remaining vacancies. That will be taken up at a later date.”
However, Yediyurappa was quick to add Umesh Katti, seven-time legislator from Hukkeri, is certain to be made minister, but in the next round of expansion. “I promise Katti will be made a minister. There is no doubt about it. I made him the same promise today,” the CM said.
Through Wednesday morning, Yogeshwar and Katti were seen camping with Yediyurappa, trying to push for their induction on Thursday. However, despite his best efforts, Yediyurappa was unable to secure approval from the central leadership to induct Katti, Yogeshwar and Arvind Limbavali. The central leadership is reportedly unhappy with the dissidence within the ranks over the possible induction of Yogeshwar.
“It was told loyalists will be inducted at a later date and I will abide by the decision of the party leadership,” said Yogeshwar, former Channapatna MLA. “Only the 10 disqualified legislators who won the bypolls will be sworn-in on Thursday.”
It is speculated Yediyurappa will fill the remaining vacancies in June or July, after seats in the legislative council fall vacant. He will probably accommodate disqualified Ranebennur MLA R Shankar, and even, perhaps, the defeated turncoats AH Vishwanath and MTB Nagaraj.
“Once MLC posts are filled, we will see another round of expansion with seven seats in play. But this time, except for Shankar, we can expect at least six loyalists to be elevated,” said a party functionary.
Hirekerur legislator BC Patil was the first on Wednesday to publicly acknowledge he will take oath on Thursday as a new minister. Patil, Yellapura MLA Shivaram Hebbar and Yeshwantpur MLA ST Somashekar met Yediyurappa and thanked him for extending personal invites to take oath.
“All legislators who got personal invitations via telephone from the CM will take oath. Today is an unforgettable day for me and I thank the CM for it,” Patil said.
Earlier in the day, Mahesh Kumatalli, the lone turncoat denied a ministerial post, again expressed his disappointment and said he would, nonetheless, abide by party stand. “I had made my case before the CM and it is left to his discretion. I will, however, continue to function as per the party’s wishes,” Kumatallai said.
Late in the night, Yediyurappa said he will personally call Kumatalli and explain why he could not be made minister. He promised him a “bigger” responsibility.


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